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Hipkiss urges fans to unite

FANS' leader Barrie Hipkiss wants Chester City supporters to put up a united front in a bid to encourage new ownership at the Deva Stadium.

FANS' leader Barrie Hipkiss wants Chester City supporters to put up a united front in a bid to encourage new ownership at the Deva Stadium.

Hipkiss, the chairman of the Official Supporters' Association who was banned by the club last season, is worried that the various groups may be perceived as having different agendas.

'We have the Official Supporters' Association, the ISA, the Trust, the Exiles and the Disabled group and this sends out confusing messages to potential buyers,' said Hipkiss, who has joined the boycott of home matches this season.

'We all want a change of management at Chester City and an effort must be made to show anyone interested in taking over that the supporters as a whole are ready to back them without any interference.

'The attendances are getting lower and lower. People are making their choice. It's not the pickets who are stopping supporters going to the matches it's dissatisfaction with the way the club is being run. I think it's time the other groups made it clear that we all want the same result.' There has been speculation that managing director Gareth Evans was about to make a bid for the club, but he has been unavailable for comment this week.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Wayne Brown could soon be leaving the Deva Stadium and other wantaway players could follow him.

City's director of football, Gordon Hill, is prepared to listen to offers for the England non-league international, who has been unsettled since last season.

Hill admitted Brown wasn't the only unhappy player in the squad. 'There are a couple who want to leave and I won't stand in the way of anyone as long as we can agree a deal,' he said.

Chester have had inquiries from Oxford United and tomorrow's Conference opponents Farnborough, but no offers were made. Telford United were also reported to be interested in a swap with their goalkeeper Ryan Price, but Hill denied this.

Hill believes he has a replacement for Brown in 21-year-old trialist Michael Bertocchi, a Frenchman who has played with Lyon and had a spell at Rushden and Diamonds.

Bertocchi was on the bench in Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Telford and will be there again at Farnborough tomorrow. 'We have put him through his paces and he looks the part. I would have no hesitation in playing him tomorrow if Brown was sold,' he said.

Chester, who are at home to Stalybridge Celtic on Tuesday (7.45), are expected to recall Michael Rose, who was suspended for the Telford game, for the trip to Farnborough and striker Chris Malkin has a chance of returning to the squad following a groin injury.

There will be an official supporters' coach to Farnborough leaving Delamere Street at 8.30am. Although there are only 28 fans booked the shortfall in the cost of coach hire will be met by the organisers. Late bookings can be made with Barrie Hipkiss on 01244 379011.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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